Two former managers at Venezuelan state-owned company PDVSA have been sentenced to jail for providing the US with strategic information on the country’s oil operations.
In a post on Twitter, Venezuela’s Attorney General Tarek William Saab said ex-PDVSA officials Alfredo Chirinos and Aryenis Torrealba were convicted of the crimes of disclosing sensitive data of the company’s sanctions-hit oil activities.
Saab said both Chirinos and Torrealba — former special operations chief and general manager of crude operations, respectively — were sentenced to five years in jail.
According to Saab, seven public hearings took place since the two men were arrested last year, with the court relying on 21 witness testimonies and evidence of the crimes before reaching a final verdict.
Chirinos and Torrealba had been accused of handling information to the US on fuel oil inventories and routes of cargo vessels that traded with PDVSA.
“These officials leaked sensitive and confidential information from the oil industry, which resulted in the imposition of sanctions by the US government, which have caused significant financial damage to the industry by limiting the marketing of its products internationally,” the sentence read.
The US has imposed multiple sanctions to PDVSA and the Caracas administration, led by President Nicolas Maduro, which have disrupted oil production in the country.
Venezuela produced on average 557,000 barrels per day of oil in 2020 — its lowest level in more than 70 years — but Maduro recently promised to restore output this year to 1.5 million bpd, although failing to disclose how this will be achieved.